Finding Aids to Personal Papers and Special Collections in the Smithsonian Institution Archives
Record Unit 7148
Graham, David Crockett
David Crockett Graham Papers, 1923-1936
David Crockett Graham (1884-1961), missionary, educator, curator, author, and field collector, was born at Green Forest, Arkansas. He received a B. A. from Whitman College, Walla Walla, Washington, in 1908. Graham then attended Rochester (New York) Theological Seminary (now Colgate Rochester Divinity School), where he completed his studies in 1911, and from which he received his Bachelor of Divinity degree in 1916. Graham was ordained to the Baptist ministry in the First Baptist Church at Freeport, New York, on April 8, 1911. Shortly afterward, Graham entered the service of the American Baptist Foreign Mission Society.
Graham and his wife, Alicia May Morey Graham, departed for China from San Francisco in the fall of 1911. They first stopped briefly in Shanghai in order to acquaint themselves with the Chinese language and culture. They were further delayed there by the outbreak of the 1911 revolution which toppled the Manchu dynasty. Finally in the fall of 1912, the Grahams made their way to the city of Suifu (now Yibin) in the province of Szechuan (Sichuan), where they were stationed for the next twenty years. At Suifu, Graham gradually assumed responsibility for missionary work and continued his study of the Chinese language, completing a five-year course then given to missionaries. Included in this course were the Three-Word Classic, the four books of Confucius and Mencius, the Sacred Edict, the Fortunate Union, and the Five Classics of Confucius.
In the fall of 1918, Graham attended the Divinity School at the University of Chicago for a year of postgraduate study. His studies included, in addition to religious education, the world's great religions, the history of religion, and the psychology of religion. Further courses taken at Chicago in the fall of 1926 during a year of doctoral study covered anthropology, ethnology, and psychology of primitive peoples and religions. Graham's dissertation, "Religions in Szechuan Province, China," was published by the Smithsonian Institution in 1928. In the spring of 1931 Graham took anthropology courses under Fay-Cooper Cole of the University of Chicago. From 1931 to 1932, Graham took courses in archeology, ethnology, physical and cultural anthropology, and the methods of research at Harvard University. In 1929, Graham was made Fellow of the Royal Geographic Society of London.
In 1919 shortly before his return to China after a year of postgraduate study, Graham visited the Smithsonian Institution (S.I.) to offer to collect for the United States National Museum (USNM) natural history specimens from Szechuan during his summer vacations and spare time from missionary work. The USNM agreed to provide supplies and some financial support to pay for expenses. During the period from 1919 to 1939, Graham made fourteen summer expeditions in Szechuan, the Szechuan-Tibetan region, and the Szechuan-Yunnan region, and several short field collecting trips in the vicinities of Suifu, and Chengtu. The specimens he sent to the USNM were mostly mammals, birds, insects, snakes, and anthropological relics. In addition, he sent anthropological measurements of Chinese people, and Chinese aborigines common in Szechuan such as the Ch'uan Miao, Ch'iang, Lolo, and the Bolstoi people, as well as their costumes and handicrafts.
Graham kept diaries detailing his activities, mostly during the 1924 to 1935 period. The areas Graham traveled included Tatsienlu (Kangding), Mount Omei (Emei Shan), the Washan, Moupin, Ningyuenfu, Yachow (Ya'an), Kiating (Jiajiang), Mowchow, Chuan Gio Chi, Chungking (Chongqing), Fu Lin, Kongshien, Li Chuang, Wen Chuan Hsien, Songpan, and Tibet. Graham employed and trained Chinese and Chinese aborigines to collect specimens for him. In recognition of Graham's work, the USNM appointed Graham a collaborator in biology, an honorary title, on October 31, 1931.
In 1932, Graham was transferred to Chengtu (now Chengdu), the capital of Szechuan, where he was stationed until the spring of 1948. There, he taught archaeology and anthropology at the West China Union University and was also Curator of the West China Union University Museum of Archaeology, Art, and Ethnology.
Graham was interested in the culture of the Chinese aborigines in Szechuan, mostly the Ch'uan Miao, and the Ch'iangs. Since becoming acquainted with the Ch'uan Miao in 1921, Graham was a principal figure in encouraging the Chinese government to establish schools in their homelands. One of Graham's Ch'uan Miao students at the missionary school in Suifu became a trapper and collector for the SI Graham participated in the studies of the Ch'iangs under the directions of the National Ministry of Education of China, and the Border Service Bureau of the Church of Christ, during 1941 and 1942.
After returning to the United States in 1948, Graham traveled for a year lecturing on his experiences. He retired to Englewood, Colorado, where he prepared his books on the songs, folklore, and folk religions of the Ch'uan Miao and the Ch'iangs. These books were published by the Smithsonian Institution. Graham died in Denver on September 15, 1961.
- 1884, March 21
- Born, Green Forest, Arkansas
- Bachelor of Arts, Whitman College, Walla Walla, Washington
- Completed studies, Rochester (New York) Theological Seminary
- Ordained as Baptist minister, First Baptist Church, Fairport, New York (April 8)
- Joined American Baptist Foreign Mission Society
- Sailed to China from San Francisco (September)
- Manchu dynasty overthrown. China becomes a republic (October 10)
- Began missionary work at Suifu, Szechuan, China (November)
- Bachelor of Divinity, Rochester Theological Seminary
- Returned to the United States (Summer)
- Began correspondence with the United States National Museum regarding collecting natural history specimens from Szechuan for the Museum
- Entered the School of Divinity, University of Chicago for postgraduate study (October)
- Master of Arts, University of Chicago
- Visited the Smithsonian Institution (August 28)
- Returned to Suifu (November)
- First meeting with the Ch'uan Miao, a Chinese aborigine tribe
- Expedition to Tatsienlu and Mount Omei
- Expedition to Songpan and the Yellow Dragon Gorge
- Expedition to Mount Omei, and the Washan (Tile Mountain)
- Returned to the United States; entered the University of Chicago for doctoral study
- Doctor of Philosophy degree, University of Chicago
- Arrived in Suifu (November 14)
- Graham's Ph.D. dissertation, "Religion in Szechuan Province," published by the Smithsonian Institution (Smithsonian Miscellaneous Collection Volume 80, No.4)
- Expedition to Ningyuenfu via Yachow
- Expedition to Moupin; acquired Panda skin for S.I.
- Made Fellow of the Royal Geographic Society of London
- Expedition to Tatsienlu and Szechuan-Tibetan border region; collected 62,000 specimens, mostly insects
- Departed China via Peking (December)
- Attended the University of Chicago and Harvard University for advanced study in anthropology, archaeology, and ethnology
- Appointed Collaborator in Biology by the United States National Museum (October 31)
- Harvard University
- Reassigned to Chengtu, capital of Szechuan, arrived September 30
- Taught anthropology and archaeology at the West China Union University, and served as curator of the West China Union University Museum of Archaeology, Art, and Ethnology in Chengtu
- Expedition to Wen Chuan Hsien and Mowchow; visited the Ch'iang, a Chinese aborigine tribe
- Expedition to Szechuan-Yunnan border region and Mount Omei; visited the Ch'uan Miao
- Expedition to Szechuan-Yunnan border region and Mount Omei (via different route from 1934 trip); visited the Ch'uan Miao
- United States on furlough (April-November)
- Traveled to the Min River Valley under the direction of the National Ministry of Education of China and the Border Service Bureau of the Church of Christ; visited the Ch'iang
- Ch'iang study continued under the direction of the Border Service Bureau of the Church of Christ
- David Crockett Graham Library of Science established by the West China Union University
- Retired from missionary work; departed from China (June)
- Resided in Englewood, Colorado
- "Songs and Stories of the Ch'uan Miao," Smithsonian Miscellaneous Collection, No. 123
- "The Customs and Religion of the Ch'iang," Smithsonian Miscellaneous Collection, No. 135
- 1961, September 15
- Died in Denver, Colorado, age 77
- "Folk Religion in Southwest China," Smithsonian Miscellaneous Collection, No. 142
This finding aid was digitized with funds generously provided by the Smithsonian Institution Women's Committee.
The materials in the David Crockett Graham Papers (Record Unit 7148) were sent to Alexander Wetmore, Director of the United States National Museum (USNM), between 1925 and 1935 by Graham. Wetmore deposited them in the Division of Ethnology, USNM. During 1948 and 1949, the diaries were sent to Graham, at his request, to copy and then returned to the division. In addition, the division made prints from the negatives and sent the prints and negatives to Graham for verification. The negatives and some of the prints were returned. The materials in this record unit were transferred to the Smithsonian Institution Archives from the National Museum of Natural History in 1973.
These papers of David Crockett Graham document Graham's field collecting trips and summer expeditions within Szechuan mostly in the vicinity of Suifu, the Min River Valley, Mount Omei, the Szechuan-Yunnan border, and the Szechuan-Tibetan border regions. The collection consists chiefly of diaries and photographs covering the period between 1923 and 1935. The diaries document, for the most part, day to day activities pertaining to the collection of specimens for the United States National Museum (USNM), including acquisition of specimens, shipping box numbers, comments on personnel involved with the collections, localities visited, and distances traveled. In addition, there are comments on the social and political environment.
The photographs consist of a small number of black and white prints, most with annotation by Graham, and 609 black and white negatives. The negatives are copies made on direct-duplicating film from the original nitrate negatives. In addition, the negatives were copied on 35mm microfilm, and a positive microfilm copy of the images is available for viewing. There are also some lantern slides, which are duplicates from the negatives in the collection.
Included also are maps, hand-drawn by Graham of some of his expedition routes; and correspondence to Alexander Wetmore, director of the USNM, and to William deC. Ravenel, administrative assistant, USNM, concerning shipments of specimens, diaries, and photographs.
Additional correspondence between David Crockett Graham and the USNM staff can be found in the following collections in the Archives: Division of Birds records (Record Unit 105), Departments of Biology and Zoology records (Record Unit 143), Permanent Files of the USNM (Record Unit 192), Division of Mammals records (Record Unit 208), Division of Fishes records (Record Unit 213), Accession Records of the USNM (Record Unit 305), and records of the Baird Ornithological Club (Record Unit 7100). Field notebooks kept by Graham can be found in Collected Notes, Lists, Drawings, and Catalogs on Mammals (Record Unit 7217); and Joseph V. Riley's unpublished manuscripts on birds collected by Graham can be found in the Riley Papers (Record Unit 7118).
Microfilm copy of photographs is available.
This collection is indexed under the following access terms. These are links to collections with related topics, persons or places.
- Graham, David Crockett
- Wetmore, Alexander, 1886-1978
- Ravenel, W. de C. (William de Chastignier), 1859-1933
- United States National Museum
- Whitman College
- Rochester Theological Seminary
- University of Chicago
- Harvard University
- American Baptist Foreign Mission Society
- West China Union University Museum of Archeology, Art, and Ethnology
Physical Characteristics of Materials in the Collection
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 7148, David Crockett Graham Papers